School trustees say they are vaccinated
All but one of the officials responsible for approving Winnipeg’s back-to-school policies amid the pandemic have confirmed they are fully immune to COVID-19.
In response to a Free press survey, 56 of 57 school trustees who oversee schools in the Manitoba capital – in boards like Winnipeg, River East Transcona, Louis Riel, Pembina Trails, Seven Oaks, St. James-Assiniboia, Seine River and the Division scolaire franco-manitobaine – indicated that they had received two doses of the vaccine.
Teresa Jaworski, who represents Ward 3 in Seven Oaks, did not respond to repeated requests for comment on the matter before the deadline.
In contrast, colleagues across town were eager to voluntarily announce their immunization status.
“I’m only proud and excited to disclose my immunization status,” wrote Chris Broughton, administrator, parent and front-line health care provider in Manitoba’s largest division, in an email. “I have witnessed the tragedy of this pandemic and I cannot imagine (not) doing all I can to protect myself, my family, my patients and my community from this virus.”
From proud responses to the administrators survey to vaccine selfies, sharing your immunization status has become increasingly popular throughout the pandemic.
“This is a testament to the highly promotional nature of public health communication at this time. Getting vaccinated is increasingly becoming a badge to help define your identity, ”said Josh Greenberg, director of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University in Ottawa.
The stylized selfies of post-vaccine stickers and bandages aren’t just meant to share personal health information, but rather to establish that one is pro-vaccine and in favor of supporting one’s community, Greenberg said, who studies communication in public health.
Administrator Jennifer Chen, who represents residents of Ward 6 in Winnipeg, has been promoting the vaccination via social media for months.
Chen has organized pop-up vaccination clinics in her volunteer role with the Women of Color Community Leadership Initiative. To date, a total of five clinics she has helped set up have attracted around 500 people, including young people, teachers and other community members, to receive injections.
“The more people are vaccinated, the better,” she said on a phone call this week.
The 98% response rate from administrators and their disclosures is “quite impressive,” said Cheryl Camillo, assistant professor of public policy at the University of Regina, whose research interests include population health and element behavioral immunization.
“They believe in showing leadership in service to your community and they concluded that by getting yourself vaccinated you are serving the public by doing your part to protect public health. That’s their way of saying it. that they have fulfilled their role and responsibility, and they are also trying to encourage others, ”said Camillo, who is also a social policy researcher at the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network.
“I find it really encouraging, at a time when people can be really cynical about leadership – especially political leadership – that they are so responsive and that they are proud to share their status.”
Camillo added that she believes their transparency can only help boost participation rates at a time when anxious parents seek to protect their children, many of whom cannot be vaccinated due to their age, before the recovery. lessons.
An impending fourth wave, the highly infectious delta variant, and the fact that students born in 2008 or later cannot be immunized put parents and school staff on high alert as the first day of school approaches.
“I am fully vaccinated and if it were up to me this would be a requirement for everyone,” said Craig Glennie, an administrator who represents the Silver Heights-Booth Ward in St. James Assiniboia, in an email this week.
This week, principals at Louis Riel and Pembina Trails announced their intention to require employees to be fully immunized to work in their respective public schools.
Public sector employers are among the first to announce such a requirement amid ongoing debates over the legality and morality of immunization mandates.
Greenberg applauded their leadership, as schools will welcome thousands of unvaccinated students into classrooms – “an ideal breeding ground” for transmission of the delta variant – in the coming weeks. At the same time, he said the lack of a universal immunization policy is of concern from a public health communication perspective.
“When provincial governments do not lead and establish frameworks that can bring together all sectors: businesses, hospitals, schools, universities, etc. policies, ”said the professor.
“It just sends a lot of mixed messages to the people.”
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the educational journalist Free Press comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.
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